Understanding Self-Harm

Are you a victim of self-harm?

What is Self-Harm?

Self-harm, also known as self-injury, or self-mutilation occurs when someone intentionally harms themselves as a way of expressing or dealing with emotional distress and pain.

Examples of self-harm include:

  • Cutting yourself with a razor blade, knife, or other sharp object;
  • Hitting yourself or banging your head;
  • Punching or throwing yourself against walls or other hard objects;
  • Burning yourself with cigarettes, matches, candles, or hot water;
  • Pulling out your hair;
  • Poking objects into body openings;
  • Swallowing poisonous substances or inedible objects;
  • Intentionally preventing wounds from healing.

Self-harm can also include less obvious ways of hurting yourself like binge drinking, taking drugs, having unsafe sex, or committing illegal acts.

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Understanding Common Mental Health Terms

Common mental health terms

Everyday we hear people talking about different mental health disorders, but how many of us know what they truly mean? To help clarify, the following are definitions of some of the most common mental health conditions.

Addiction

Addiction is a brain disorder characterized by a compulsive desire to do or to have something despite harmful consequences.

Anxiety

Anxiety is an intense feeling of fear, worry, nervousness, or unease caused by the anticipation of an imminent event or situation with an uncertain outcome.

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Coping with Stress in the Workplace

Stress in the workplace

47% of working Canadians consider stress in the workplace to be the most stressful part of daily life.  Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety

Not all stress is bad. A little stress can help you stay focused, energetic, and able to meet new challenges in the workplace. But when stress becomes persistent and exceeds your ability to cope, it can interfere with your productivity and performance, and be harmful to your physical and emotional health.

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Addiction Myths and Facts

Addiction myths

Unless you or a loved one has a history of substance abuse, it’s hard to understand the true nature of addiction.  Without personal experience, people often fill their knowledge gap with presumptions, speculation, rumour, and conjecture, creating myths about addiction, and the recovery process that overshadow facts.  So, let’s clear the air.  The following are some of the most common myths about substance abuse, addiction, and recovery, and the real facts everyone should know.

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How to Nurture Your Child's Mental Health

Nurture Your Child’s Mental Health

Watching your child grow, and helping them to develop, is one of the great joys of parenthood.  But while providing for your child’s physical needs is fairly straightforward, providing for their emotional growth, can be less clear.

Evidence shows that fostering a child’s emotional growth through strong family relationships and open and honest communication, has a positive effect on their mental health.  Good mental health allows children to understand and manage their emotions, make smart decisions, develop socially, and learn new skills. Nurturing your child’s mental health from infancy will also prepare them for the many challenges that lie ahead: school tests; peer pressure; bullying; dating; and the other trials of growing up.

To provide a solid foundation your child’s emotional growth, practice these eight proven tips for nurturing a child’s mental health.

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Addiction Recovery Diet

Addiction recovery diet

A healthy diet during addiction recovery restores the mind and body.

Long-term drug and alcohol abuse causes significant stress and damage to an addict’s mind and body.  Malnutrition, abscesses, gastrointestinal issues, heart problems, organ and tissue damage, depression, paranoia, and suicidal thoughts are just some of the many health issues addicts face.  Proper nutrition can help heal the effects of chronic substance abuse; restoring physical and mental health, and improving a patient’s odds of recovery.

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Eating Disorders

Understanding Eating Disorders

What are Eating Disorders?

Eating disorders are serious mental health illnesses defined by abnormal eating habits that can have a profoundly negative affect a person’s physical and psychological health.

People with eating disorders become obsessed with food and their body weight.  Whether the eating disorder manifests as eating too little, or too much, individuals with eating disorders use their preoccupation with food to create a sense of control over their lives, and to distract themselves from the painful emotions that are at the root of the condition.

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Is Sex Addiction Real?

IS SEX ADDICTION REAL?

The National Council on Sex Addiction and Compulsivity defines sexual addiction as “engaging in persistent and escalating patterns of sexual behaviour acted out despite increasingly negative consequences to self and others.”

However, there is considerable debate among health professionals whether sexual addiction is truly an addiction or rather a compulsive behaviour.  In fact, to date sexual addiction is not an official clinical diagnosis.

Part of the challenge in defining sexual addiction are the religious and cultural influences on the societal norms surrounding sexual behaviour.  How do we objectively distinguish sexual addiction from a high sex drive?

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Anger Management

ANGER MANAGEMENT: An Audio Lecture by Yonah Budd

Do you get angry when stuck in traffic, or when a friend is late for a date?  Do you often lose your patience when your child misbehaves? You may need some assistance with anger management.

We all get angry sometimes. Anger is a normal and even healthy emotion, but it must be dealt with in an appropriate, safe, and healthy way.  Anger expressed positively, will increase your serenity, your energy, and your intimacy with the people you care about.

To learn more about Anger Management and how you can best express your anger, listen to Yonah Budd’s audio lecture: Road to Recovery -The Truth About Anger.

Road to Recovery with Yonah Budd

friends dancing sober

Party sober

Attending parties and events can be one of the most difficult and stressful challenges for people in recovery and should be avoided during the first six months of sobriety. But as you gain confidence in your recovery, attending social functions or having an evening out with trusted friends and family can bring a sense of normalcy and help you feel less isolated.

Contrary to popular belief, your life doesn’t have to become boring or routine when you get sober. The party doesn’t have to end just because you can’t drink or use drugs. The key is to party smart.

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Natural Depression Treatments

Treat your depression naturally

Depression is one of the most common mental health illnesses in Canada.  According to the Ministry for Health and Long-Term Care, an estimated 1 in 4 Canadians will experience a degree of depression serious enough to require treatment at some time in their life.

Depression can take many forms, and it’s important to make the distinction between clinical depression and situational depression.  Clinical depression is a medical diagnosis of acute depression often caused by a chemical imbalance. Treatment requires regular therapy with a certified professional and in most cases prescription intervention.  Situational depression is caused by our reaction to external stress factors.  Symptoms are mild or moderate compared to clinical depression and can usually be managed with talk therapy and natural treatment methods.

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Commonly Used Illegal Drugs - Methamphetamine

Commonly Used Illegal Drugs – Methamphetamine

What is Methamphetamine?

Methamphetamine, commonly known as meth, is a highly addictive, synthetic stimulant.

Developed in the early 1900s, methamphetamine gained popularity during World War II as a way to keep soldiers awake.  After the war, use became prevalent among college students, truck drivers, athletes, and homemakers who used the drug for its ability to create increased alertness, energy, and confidence; and suppress appetite.

Today, methamphetamine is one of the most commonly used illegal drugs in the world.

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What is Codependency?

What is codependency?

Codependency can be defined as a pattern of behaviour in which one person’s self-esteem and self-worth is dependent on the approval of another person.  The codependent feels worthless unless they’re making sacrifices for their enabler, and the enabler gets satisfaction from having their every need met.  It’s a dysfunctional relationship of enmeshment built on manipulation, control, and fear.

Research suggests that codependency typically develops in childhood as a response to neglect or emotional and physical abuse by a parent or caretaker. The child learns that their needs are unimportant; that to remain quiet avoids conflicts; and that by sacrificing their own needs they will win approval and love.

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Commonly Used Drugs - Cocaine

Commonly Used Illegal Drugs – Cocaine

What is Cocaine?

Cocaine is a highly addictive stimulant drug extracted from the leaves of the South American coca bush.

When processed, it is available in two forms, hydrochloride salt and freebase.  Hydrochloride salt is the powdered form of cocaine, it can be snorted, or dissolved in water and injected.  Freebase is the base form of cocaine, it’s sold as solid rock crystal and is “cooked” using heat and inhaled or “smoked”.

Crack cocaine is derivative of cocaine made by cooking hydrochloride salt with water and baking soda. It is also smoked, typically through a pipe. Continue reading “Commonly Used Illegal Drugs – Cocaine”

What is Mindfulness?

What is mindfulness?

Do you remember what happened on your route to work this morning?  Do you remember driving to work this morning?

By dinnertime, can you remember what you had for lunch?  Did you eat lunch?

For most of us the answer is no. We can’t remember. We were running on autopilot.  Often our attention is so absorbed by our wandering mind that we’re not really present in our own lives. We get caught up in the act of doing, and the struggle to get things done, we fail to notice the beauty of life.  We forget to enjoy the journey.

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Heroin Use

Commonly Used Illegal Drugs – Heroin

What is Heroin?

Heroin is an illegal, opioid drug synthesized from morphine, a natural substance derived from the seedpod of the opium poppy.

In its purest form, heroin is fine, white powder.  When the drug is “cut” with other substances its colour and consistency can change.  Street heroin can range from a white powder to a beige or brown grainy substance to a dark black tar.  The purity of heroin varies significantly from batch-to-batch and depending on which additives are used to cut the drug, this will determine its potency and risk. Continue reading “Commonly Used Illegal Drugs – Heroin”

Can Animal-Assisted Therapy Prevent Sustance Abuse?

Animals and your sobriety

Yes! According to a 2017 national survey of individuals recovering from addictions by the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA), pet therapy is valuable as a pathway to recovery. In Saskatchewan, 68.4% of survey respondents identified their relationship with animals or pets as an important support in recovery, and 39.5% said their relationship with animals was important to maintaining their recovery.

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Commonly Used Club Drugs

Commonly Used Illegal Drugs – Club Drugs

Club drugs are a group of psychoactive drugs that take their name from their popularity at nightclubs, concerts, bars, and all-night dance parties. Club drugs are also commonly called designer drugs, as most are synthesized in a lab.

Generally used by teens and young adults, the majority of club drug use is limited to specific places, events, and activities where the drugs are thought to improve the overall experience or solicit a certain response.

The most common club drugs are Ecstasy, GHB, Ketamine, and Rohypnol.  All of these drugs act on the body’s central nervous system to produce a sense of euphoria, reduced inhibitions, heighten emotional and sensory feelings, and hallucinogenic effects.  But not all club drugs are the same.

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Male addict drinking in bed

Am I an addict?

Sometimes what you are most of afraid of admitting is the very thing that will set you free.

The cliché is true, the hardest part of addiction recovery is admitting you have a problem. Denial is a major part of addiction, and many people have to reach rock bottom before they will accept that they are an addict and need help.

If you’re reading this article, there’s a good chance that you already know you have an issue with substance abuse, but you may be uncertain if you’re an addict.

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